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Gender washing: seven kinds of marketing hypocrisy about empowering women

At a time of so much focus on how women are held back and treated unfairly, corporations spend multiple millions telling us what they are doing to empower women and girls. When this makes them seem more women-friendly than they really are, it’s known as gender washing.

empowering women, women empowerment

Gender washing: seven kinds of marketing hypocrisy about empowering women (Photo by Natalie Hua on Unsplash)

Gender washing comes in different varieties, and some can be easier to spot than others. To help identify them, it can be useful to look at the decades of research on corporate greenwashing – that better known variant related to climate change.

Inspired by a 2015 paper that identified seven varieties of greenwashing, I have published a new paper that classifies seven kinds of questionable corporate claims about empowering women and girls.

1. Selective disclosure

When corporations publicise improvements in, say, female boardroom representation, or the gender pay gap, while omitting contradictory or inconvenient information, it’s known as selective disclosure.

For example, pharma group Novartis frequently features on Working Mother magazine’s annual list of the 100 best companies to work for, via an application highlighting the progress it has made in employment practices towards women. Novartis also proudly cites its support for Working Mother, per the tweet below. Yet as recently as 2010, the corporation lost the then largest gender pay, promotion and pregnancy discrimination case ever to go to trial.

2. Empty gender policies

Some companies take initiatives to raise women’s voices internally which, in reality, have little impact. For example, “women’s networks” aim to increase female employees’ confidence and help them build leadership skills through networking events and mentoring schemes. But critics argue that such networks are frequently ignored, and don’t address the underlying causes of discrimination or engage men in efforts to tackle institutional sexism.

One study from 2007 found that the members of one company’s women’s network feared it might actually damage their career prospects because at the time, it was ridiculed by male colleagues as a forum for “male-bashing” and exchanging recipes.

3. Dubious labelling

The promotional placement of the pink breast cancer awareness ribbon by brands with products containing known carcinogens or other arguably risky ingredients is an example of this third kind of gender washing. There are examples involving makeup, alcoholic drinks and even pesticides.

The pink ribbon can also gender wash the objectification of women. For example, US bar chain Hooters has built its entire brand around waitresses with voluptuous breasts and skimpy clothing. In the company logo, the two Os are replaced by the eyes of an owl, symbolising breasts to be stared at, wide-eyed. Yet, once a year for breast cancer awareness month, the eyes are replaced by pink ribbons as Hooters invites customers to “give a hoot” for breast cancer awareness. Staring is thus rebranded as caring.

4. Useful partnerships

One way in which a corporation’s image could be gender-washed is to associate with a feminist, women’s or girls’ organisation through funding or some other assistance. The corporation gets to place its logo on the organisation’s marketing materials, potentially distracting from practices elsewhere.

For example, Dove has partnered with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts on a teaching resource aimed at helping girls to question dominant beauty standards that damage their self-esteem. This is despite the beauty industry – of which Dove is part – perpetuating those standards to sell products.

5. Voluntary codes

When rights abuses emerge in global supply chains – often most affecting female workers in the global south – there are often demands for tighter regulation of corporate behaviour. One way for corporations to respond and potentially deflect such demands is by creating voluntary codes of practice. Their very voluntariness is presented by corporations as evidence of a commitment to empowering workers – particularly women.

Voluntary codes rarely lead to meaningful improvements. For example, when the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed in 2013, over 1,000 garment factory workers died, some 80% of them women. In the aftermath, the voluntary Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety was established and promoted by western retailers such as Walmart as improving safety and empowering female factory workers. Yet crucially, there were no legally binding commitments to prevent another disaster, and the alliance was later criticised by activists and researchers for not improving conditions quickly enough.

6. Changing the narrative

Corporations can position themselves as global leaders on issues where they have previously been found wanting. For example in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Nike was dogged by claims of child labour, sexual and physical abuse among workers at supplier factories, 90% of whom were female.

Nike’s response included establishing a division of corporate responsibility and setting up the Nike Foundation. One of the foundation’s flagship campaigns was the Girl Effect, launched in 2008 to persuade global elites to invest in girls’ education in the global south.

The campaign quickly went viral, and was soon partnering with the UK’s Department for International Development on programmes to empower girls in the global south. Nike had gone from a brand tarnished by accusations of child labour and exploitation to a trusted partner in international efforts to promote girls’ rights.

7. Reassuring branding

Chiquita Banana, the famous logo of Chiquita Brands Corporation, might give shoppers in the global north the impression of buying their bananas from a happy, Latina market woman cheerfully selling her wares.

gender washing, branding,

Photo by Rich Smith on Unsplash

Yet feminist scholars have documented the long history of Chiquita – formerly the United Fruit Company – exploiting women on banana plantations in Latin America and the Caribbean. This includes past cases of sexual harassment, discrimination, exposure to harmful chemicals, and violations of childcare and maternity rights.

Does all of this matter? If corporations want to take up the cause of gender equality, is that so bad? It is true that some women and girls do find ways within gender washing campaigns to make gains, but we can’t lose sight of the bigger picture.

If a corporation’s employment practices, supply chains or products are harmful to women and girls, and it sells more products thanks to gender washing, then this has increased the harm done. That is why it is so important to identify and call out forms of gender washing whenever we see them.The Conversation

You might be interested: Fireside chat with Jose Forteza: Diversity and LGBTQ+ inclusion in media


Rosie Walters, Lecturer in International Relations, Cardiff University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Developing your unique brand identity in 2021

As an entrepreneur or business owner, you have probably heard how important it is to establish a unique personal brand for your business. Creating a brand may seem simple, but to truly be successful a brand needs its own identity that sets it apart from others. Developing a successful brand identity is the first step to building a successful business. Read on for the top 5 key elements you need to develop your unique brand identity. 

What’s in a brand? 

Let’s take a moment to define what even is a “brand.” One way to think of a brand is to think of it as your business’s personality. The business is the person, the brand is the personality that attracts people to the business.  

When thinking of your brand as the personality, or attributes of a person, these areas come to mind: 

  • Name
  • Image / Appearance 
  • How they communicate 
  • What they stand for / message / values 
  • Who they associate with 

A successful brand identity will have a unique image that stands out from the rest. It will communicate and engage with its core audience effectively and will have values that align with their audience’s values. When you start viewing your business’s brand as its personality, it becomes easier to identify the elements needed to attract customers. Just think, what qualities do successful people have? How can you translate those qualities to a business? 

5 Key elements you need to develop your unique brand identity

  1. Have a clear brand purpose and positioning 

The very first step in establishing your brand identity is to determine your business’s purpose and positioning aka why it’s important. What makes your business different from all the others? Why does the world need your business? Who is your target audience? What issue will your business solve? Answering these questions will help you establish your brand’s purpose and positioning. 

  1. Conduct thorough market research

Conducting market and customer research is one way to help you discover your brand’s purpose and positioning. For beginners to market research, there are many online resources to help you get started. 

From simply talking to people in your target audience, conducting phone interviews, or utilizing online survey tools, these methods can help you get a better idea of how your brand is perceived by others and what your target audience is looking for in a brand. 

  1. Design a memorable logo and color palette

Essential to your brand’s “personality” is their style. Logos, color palettes, and brand images are that style. They are your brand’s outer image, the face the world sees. 

Think of any iconic brand and you probably first think of their logo and colors. Red and white Coca-Cola. Apple’s sleek, bitten apple. McDonald’s golden yellow arches. Google’s simple text in red, yellow, blue, and green letters. Disney’s unique font and magical castle. 

Brand recognition is largely visual. In our fast paced, digital world images are becoming more important than ever, so a quality logo design is key to developing a successful brand identity. 

When designing a logo, keep it simple and uncluttered. Think back to those well-known logos. Most are not complicated, just unique. A simple logo will also make it easier to scale between mediums and products from digital banners to flyers, merchandise, or billboards. 

Keep the color palette simple too. Most brands stick to one to three primary colors in their palette. You can look into color psychology to choose colors that will appeal to your target audience or better convey your brand’s message, emotion, and tone. 

You don’t have to break the bank either with your logo design. There are many resources online that can help you create a professional looking logo for a low cost or even for free. 

You might be interested: 10 Free online resources for Latinas and other women small business

  1. Use language to connect and advertise on social media

Communication is key. How you communicate is also just as important. Use language that matches your brand’s personality. If you’re a hip and trendy brand, you can be more conversational and laid back. If you’re a professional or academic brand, use more polished language. Using the right language will help you connect better with your target audience and establish a more organic connection. 

Another way to build a deeper connection with your audience is through story-telling. People love stories, especially emotional or inspiring stories. Tell your brand’s story! Speak to your customers’ emotions. Engage with them on social media and utilize your digital platforms to create interactive opportunities. Advertising and social media presence are crucial avenues for getting your brand’s message and purpose across to larger audiences, connecting with current customers, and drawing in new potential customers. 

  1. Stay consistent 

One of the major markers of a successful brand identity is brand recognition. Staying consistent with your image, message, language, and purpose all contribute to your brand recognition. If you are inconsistent with your branding, customers may have trouble remembering your brand, especially when they are constantly bombarded by advertising everyday. You always want to stand out in your customer’s mind, and to achieve that consistency is key. 

Back to the analogy of a business as a person, if a brand is constantly changing their hair color or style every time you see them, you might have trouble recognizing them or you may start to think of them as inconsistent or unreliable. 

People want brands that they can trust. They want familiar. Stay consistent with your look, message, and when you post or engage online. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun or change things up from time to time. Successful brands evolve over time to stay fresh. But core aspects of the brand should stay fairly consistent.

How Chavez Web Design is helping to grow small businesses

Chavez Web Design, LLC is a one-stop-shop for all your digital marketing needs. They help small businesses create their logo, videos, business cards, website, Google Ads, Search Engine Optimization, and social media marketing. They understand that every business is different and are committed to helping small businesses grow and accomplish their goals.

Noemi Chavez, owner and founder of Chavez Web Design. (Photo courtesy Noemi Chavez)

As “Growth With Google” partners and SBDC (Small Business Development Center) consultants, they also work to educate the small business community on how to promote their business with Google, and run their business more efficiently. 

Their goal and mission is to help organizations reach their growth goals through effective digital marketing strategies.

Chavez Web Design’s small business roots 

Chavez Web Design was founded by Noemi Chavez in 2008 when she became pregnant with her first child. What began as a small side business to earn some extra money has now become a successful full-time family business that she runs with her husband, Luis. 

“I was excited about the idea of spending more time with my son and making some extra money to support our little family at the same time,” says Noemi. “I quickly discovered that owning a business was pushing me to grow and to create new opportunities to help other small businesses. My passion for helping others allowed us to help over 600 businesses with their website and digital marketing.” 

Noemi is driven by her clients’ success and she truly understands the struggles of starting a small business because she’s been there herself. 

“Opening a new business is hard,” she says, reflecting back on her own struggles.

When she first began, finding clients was not easy, especially being a Latina woman entering a male dominated field.  

“At first, every prospect I visited asked me for work samples, and at that time, I didn’t have any,” says Noemi. “In 2008, I was knocking on doors every day of every week, but still no clients. Keeping myself motivated was not easy after getting that much rejection.”

However, these setbacks did not stop her and finally, after many months, she got her first client and doors began to open. 

“He introduced me to his friends and I started getting some momentum. But the biggest breakthrough was when I got introduced to the local chamber. It was perfect for me because all of the small business owners were there! They had the opportunity to learn about what I do, and I was going to help them with their business.”

Luis and Noemi Chavez, accepting award. (Photo courtesy Noemi Chavez)

Since then, Chavez Web Design has grown and helped hundreds of businesses reach their goals and succeed. The success stories are what motivate and inspire Noemi. 

“Nothing is more satisfying than hearing our client’s success stories after helping them with their marketing strategies,” she says. “We love what we do and we bring the result to our clients. What makes our company unique is that I have a sincere interest in having your business excel.” 

You might be interested: 3 Marketing challenges Latina-owned businesses face

Grow your business: Plan your work and work your plan 

For Noemi, success is helping others succeed. She strives to make her business a warm and welcoming place for clients and takes the time to really get to know them and understand their needs so that she can help them create strong businesses that can survive any situation. She is also committed to promoting education in the small business community by providing them with access to one-on-one training and tools to grow their businesses.

Chavez Web Design, digital marketing

Chavez Web Design, specializing in digital marketing and design for small businesses. (Photo courtesy Noemi Chavez)

One story Noemi shared with us was of one of her students named Olga, who Noemi helped launch her dream business.

“I met Olga Duran in one of my Google classes,” says Noemi. “She was super excited to be there! She was working at an orange packing house for the last 25+ years but her dream was to open a flower shop. She started to follow my classes at every place I had a teaching event, even though she had never been 25 miles away from her city!”

“She finally found the courage to register her business and open the doors. In her first month, she doubled her salary by running a business that she loves! Stories like hers make us want to keep improving. We want to provide the best service to see dreams come true every day.”

Success stories like Olga’s remind us that our dreams are possible, we just need to take the leap and not be afraid to seek help.

Noemi says to any aspiring entrepreneurs, “Forget about the fear of starting a business and start getting educated. Find people and organizations that can guide you to make better decisions. Do not listen to people that have never run a business.” 

Too often we stop ourselves from making a move out of fear or lack of knowledge, but there are people out there like Noemi ready to help you navigate the world of business. Success is possible. Your dreams are possible.

“Start by creating a business plan. Remember to plan your work and work your plan,” Noemi says. “Set up the right expectation of what you are getting into and most important: Be flexible and adapt your strategies according to the results that you are getting. Don’t wait for the perfect moment because it will never arrive. Just work with what you have. And good luck! “

Pinterest

5 Steps to increase your blog traffic through Pinterest

If you’re a business owner with a blog or website, chances are you’re familiar with the struggle of increasing blog traffic to your site. SEO optimization, keywords, and targeted ads can only go so far when you’re competing with tons of bigger sites in the Google search results. However, Pinterest might be the perfect place to market your content to users who share your blog’s niche interests. Worldwide, over 2 billion searches occur on Pinterest each month and Pinterest boasts nearly 90 million active monthly users in the United States alone. That’s a huge potential audience and when utilized correctly, Pinterest can be a massively effective marketing tool. 

Below are 5 easy steps on how to use Pinterest to increase blog traffic to your site and gain thousands of new readers. 

5 Steps to increase blog traffic through Pinterest  

  1. Create a new Pinterest business account for your blog 

First thing’s first, you need to create a new business account for your blog. You may already have a personal account on Pinterest, but creating a separate account specifically for your blog will help you target your account to reach the niche areas your blog covers. 

Setting up your new account is super easy! Simply navigate to Pinterest Business, click “Get Started” and fill out your information. Once you complete your sign up info, Pinterest will walk you through a few questions for your settings and preferences and help you get started.  

Once your account is set, you can edit your profile and bio to attract users whose interests are relevant to your blog. In your bio, add a keyword-rich description of your blog to help users find you in Pinterest’s search engine. 

  1. Set up your own Pinterest boards and join group boards

Now that your account is set up, it’s time to create your “boards” and start pinning! If you’re not familiar with Pinterest’s terminology, a “board” is essentially a collection of pins, or posts. Boards are usually grouped by categories. So for instance you may have a board for “Healthy Recipes” and another for “Journal Prompts” or “Marketing Strategies.” Creating boards centered around topics you cover on your blog or site will help you draw in users who are searching for those topics. 

You can also join relevant group boards to increase blog traffic to your site. Group boards are community boards where people with shared interests contribute their own pins to the group. Joining boards that focus on your blog’s topics is a great way to get your content out to a larger audience. Not only will your pins reach more people who are actually interested in your content in a group board, but those in the group are more likely to save or share the pin on their own boards. This chain of shares is what you’re aiming for, the more shares you get on an original pin, the more potential traffic you drive toward your blog. 

  1.  Create and post shareworthy Pinterest Pins 

Now, the pins are really the most important thing. Your original pins, or posts, are what ultimately will be shared around and draw users toward your blog. Creating eye-catching, shareworthy pins is key to standing out in the search. Your goal with each pin is to hopefully draw people toward your site by having them click the pin and follow the URL to your blog. Though getting them to save and re-share your pin is also great as it creates more exposure for your content. So you may be wondering, how do you create a shareworthy pin? 

Shareworthy pins usually have an eye-catching picture and an intriguing title. Vertical images also do better than smaller square images. Another plus is if your pin has a “call to action” such as “Click on the blog link below for more.” Tell users where to go next and direct them toward your blog. Also pay close attention to keywords and tag all your pins with relevant keywords. Just like with any search, keywords are, well, key! Before you make a pin, do a little bit of keyword research. Search up some of the keywords associated with your content. Pinterest will show you related keywords under the search bar when you search a term, so take a look at those suggestions too to get a better idea of which keywords are popular. 

Pinterest

Canva is a free site that provides easy-to-use templates to make eye-catching pin images

For creating an eye-catching image you can use tools like Canva or PicMonkey which let you create infographics, headers, and visual aids to go along with your content. I personally use Canva, which is completely free to use, with the option to go premium to access bonus content. However the free version gives you plenty of free content to make eye-catching graphics and headers for your social media posts and pins. Canva also provides users with templates specifically designed for a certain social media platform, so you can easily make images for your pins with little hassle

Pinterest

No hassle. Canvas templates are specifically designed to fit Pinterest image dimensions

  1. Develop an active Pinterest following 

An active following in not completely necessary on a search-based platform like Pinterest, since your content will still reach people who are not following you and simply find you in keywords searches. However, an active following can definitely help increase blog traffic since loyal followers will be more likely to re-pin your posts and spread them around. 

One way to increase your following is to follow others who post similar content. Many users are likely to follow back other users in their niche. 

Another strategy is to plug your Pinterest on your other social media sites and blog. Add a button or widget that will link to your Pinterest or display your recent pins and boards. Your current readers are already loyal followers of your content, so by promoting your Pinterest to them, they will in turn be able to help spread your pins and reach new readers. 

You might be interested: How to improve brand perception

  1. Pin frequently!

Lastly, pin frequently and consistently! Pinterest values consistency and is more likely to promote content from frequent pinners. Try to get into a routine of pinning at least once a day, and slowly increase from there. You don’t want to overwhelm your followers by dumping a ton of pins on them at once. It’s better to spread out your pins to a few each day and frequently post instead of just posting a ton at once and being inactive afterward. 

Also be sure to have a good mix of your own pins and pins from others. Sharing pins from other users is a good way of including content from experts in areas that are relevant to your blog or site but in which you are not an expert. Re-pinning from others is also a way to promote your account to others in your niche. When people see someone has shared their pin, they are more likely to check out that person’s account. So by sharing other people’s pins, you’re driving traffic to your account too. 

The main thing though is to stay active and consistent, so take some time to develop a schedule so followers will know what to expect from you. Once you’ve established a routine, you can queue up pins to post on schedule or post manually each week. Whatever works best for you! 

And remember to have fun with it too. Pinterest is a great online resource with many communities centered around just about every niche and topic you can think of. Find your people, have fun sharing information on the topics you love, all while you increase blog traffic to your site and promote your content! 

8 Ways to Promote Your Blog Through Social Media

Promoting your blog is one of those subtle arts that it can be hard to get to grips with. You have plenty of amazing content ideas, the words flow effortlessly onto the page, but you haven’t got a clue how to get more people to read them. Sound familiar?

Well, not to worry, because we have 8 proven ways by which you can use the power of social media to direct more and more people to your posts. Not only are they great ways to turn all eyes in your direction, but they’re also 100% free! What could be better than that?

Don’t forget about the power of cross-posting 

Cross-posting is the first thing that we need to talk about, and with good reason. It’s no use being on half a dozen different channels if you only update them sporadically. The beauty of cross-posting is that it allows you to post the same content to multiple channels at the same time. 

Of course, you’re going to want to tweak the format to suit the individual platforms, but that’ll only take a few minutes a week on your part. This strategy is ideal if you want to be able to create a constant stream of hype that gets people excited about what you’re going to post next. 

Post your blog with an attractive image so that it catches the eye 

You can have as many powerful social media marketing tools as you like, but if you’re not posting eye-catching visual content then you’re doing your blog a disservice. The important thing to note here is that whilst it needs to catch the eye, your content also needs to relate directly to what’s written in your blog. 

You might get more traffic from amazing natural photos, but if you’re writing about recruitment or something else unrelated, people are just going to be confused and go elsewhere. 

Share your blog to relevant Facebook groups 

Facebook is still the king of social media, but the mistake so many people make is creating a page for their blog, and then only posting to it. The problem with this is, if no one is reading your blog, no one will be looking for you on Facebook. 

What you need to do instead, is to link to your blog in posts you leave in relevant groups. Plenty of people will be doing 

similar things, so you’re going to have to be creative, imaginative, and persistent if you want to stand out from the crowd. Over time you’ll start getting people to hop over to your blog, and before you know it there’ll be an avalanche of new traffic. 

Share your blog to relevant Facebook groups.

If your blog is business orientated, it needs to be posted to LinkedIn 

Ask the best online paper writing service, the best accountancy firm, or the best management consultancy where they post their blogs, and they’ll tell you they focus on LinkedIn. This is because it’s the perfect forum for blogs that are aimed at professionals and executives. The other channels may well be enticing, and you’ll still get a few hits through them, but LinkedIn is where you need to be for this kind of content. 

Tweet a question on Twitter, and link to your blog as the answer

One of the easiest ways to attract an audience is to tweet a thought-provoking question, and then immediately link to your blog as the source of the answers. This is great because it creates a real impetus to click the link, and it’s also a proven way to stand out from the thousands of other tweets people will see on any given day. 

Find 3 trending hashtags that you can jump on 

If there was one piece of advice that every blog promoter should be given before they start posting, it’s to go easy on the

 hashtags. You might think that adding a dozen of them to the bottom of every post maximizes your chances of being seen. Unfortunately, all it’s really

 doing is making your posts look like spam. Something you certainly need to avoid if you want to position yourself as a distributor of high-quality readable content. 

The secret is to find 3 trending hashtags that you can jump on that are relevant to what you have to say. This will allow you to strike the perfect balance between search, and relevance. 

You might be interested: 5 Steps to build an employee branding strategy

Tweet excerpts of upcoming blogs to build interest and anticipation 

Use Twitter to engage audiences and link back to your blog.

Building anticipation is a major part of holding a captive audience. The great thing about tweeting a teaser from an upcoming blog is that it allows you to get some hype behind your next post. That way you’re not just trying to get people to read what’s already out there. You’re also getting them excited about what you have in the pipeline. 

Keep the teasers short, thought-provoking, and intriguing. If you can create something that people will retweet so they can see what their friends have to say, then you’ll truly be onto something. 

Be creative, don’t just say ‘read my blog’

No list of clever ways to promote blogs would be complete without a few words on the importance of creativity. There are so many people on social media these days that you need to be able to do things differently if you want your voice to be heard. 

It’s not about being provocative or posting clickbait, but rather about framing your message in new and original ways. Once you can do that, your posts will stand out a mile when browsers are scrolling down their feeds. Over time you’ll home in on a unique style that represents you and what you have to say, and you’ll find that your readership grows exponentially as a result. 

5 Steps to build an employee branding strategy

If you want to build a remarkable employee branding strategy but don’t know where to start, here is a short guide for you.

Latina entrepreneur Silvina Rodriguez Porcaro

Latina entrepreneur Silvina Rodriguez Picaro turns crisis into business opportunity

Latina entrepreneur Silvina Rodriguez Picaro transformed an external crisis into a business opportunity for her marketing communications company. She is the founder of the well-established, award-winning marketing communications agency, SRP Communications & Brand Design, SRP Interactive, and SRP Health Care Communication. Her company has offices in both Miami and Buenos Aires, and serves a variety of clients from startups to global corporations.

Latina entrepreneur Silvina Rodriguez Porcaro

Latina entrepreneur Silvina Rodriguez Porcaro

At SRP, their theme is: we understand; we create; we connect; we deliver results. Silvina is dedicated to her clients and passionate about helping them expand their businesses to the next level through marketing communications. Her motto in business and in life is “Let’s make it happen!” and that’s exactly what she does.   

Her career in the corporate world began when she was just 17 years old. She then earned her Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and graduated as Valedictorian of her class at the age of twenty.

Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, it was inevitable that she too would eventually start her own venture. First Silvina worked for various companies, establishing herself in the world of marketing. After graduating college, she moved to São Paulo, Brazil where she worked for a renowned design company, learned a lot, and made good friends. When the “Collor de Mello’s Crisis” happened in Brazil, Silvina was forced to return to Buenos Aires as it was too difficult for her to live as an immigrant woman in the expensive city of São Paulo.

In Buenos Aires, she continued to work for various companies, including a prestigious newspaper. This position is what lead to the start of her company. She performed very well in her role and the company rewarded her with a raise and a promotion. It was at this moment that Silvina saw the future stretched out before her.

Following the family path of entrepreneurship

“I decided that taking that path would lead me to be an employee in the corporate world,” she explains. “Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, that was something that just wasn’t in my DNA.”

Latina entrepreneur Silvina Rodriguez Picaro

One of Silvina’s book also available in English

Silvina stuck by her motto– “Let’s make it happen!”– and turned her entrepreneurial dreams into a reality. She went back to school and earned her Master’s Degree in Corporate Communications and then a Marketing MBA. From there she grew her business as the Argentinian market opened its economy to the world and her company was able to gain international clients such as Unisys, BASF, KPMG, and Liberty Mutual. Additionally her previous employers became her clients as well.  

Silvina continued through tough challenges and obstacles such as the Argentinean crisis in 2001 which Silvina describes as “the most significant challenge I faced as a business owner.” During the crisis, the economy was crippled and many of Silvina’s clients owed money which was unlikely to be collected. This lead to the devaluation of the company’s assets and business levels dropped.

“Looking back on it, I feel that we acted like the well-known business story of the frogs in the milk bucket,” says Silvina. “We kept on paddling tirelessly until we sensed something hard below our feet. Having converted the milk into butter, we jumped out of the bucket.”

Silvina and her team stuck to her can-do motto and turned around the situation. They worked tirelessly and pursued all options in search of a solution. For clients who could not afford them, they swapped products and services. It was a “win-win” situation that allowed everyone to continue doing business together. Those products and services were then shared with the company’s employees who now could enjoy restaurants, entertainment, clothes, groceries, and more as company “benefits.”

“I think, at this point, we had the happiest employees in the country, while most of our competitors just disappeared!” says Silvina.

As they continued to succeed and grow as a company, they were able to establish a location in Miami in 2002 and become the international Marketing Communications Agency SRP is today.

What it takes to build a successful company

Building such a successful company requires a strong support system. Silvina cites her family as her source of strength. Her parents and sister are all entrepreneurs themselves and her husband is her business partner, an incredible leader, and overall her best friend. Her teenage daughter, Kayla, also inspires her everyday. “She is my link to the GenZ’s, a more aware generation. She helps me understand things in a different dimension.”

Alongside her family, her friends are also incredibly important. Having kept friends since kindergarten and constantly making new ones, Silvina has created a huge network of supportive people.  

“This incredible network of friends spread all over the world are…an invaluable source of help and life advice when I need it.”

When asked to give some advice of her own to other aspiring Latinas, Silvina stresses a strong network and self-motivation–that can-do attitude of “Let’s make it happen!”

You might be interested: Latinas brand identity and the power of your Hispanic accent

“Don’t wait for the perfect timing,” she says, “you need to create it! Motivate yourself; there is nothing so powerful as your inner energy. Create your network, build a team you can rely on and always keep moving forward in the direction of your goals.”

As Silvina’s journey demonstrates, all things are possible, even in the face of hard obstacles success can be achieved through persistence, innovation, and hard work.

Opportunities in affiliate marketing programs

Affiliate marketing programs

By Jesse Torres

I recently had the opportunity to interview affiliate marketing veteran Stephanie Robbins on KCAA Radio’s Money Talk. Stephanie, through her company Robbins Interactive, helps clients with all aspects of marketing including affiliate marketing, social media, online branding, website development and online advertising.

“Affiliate marketing is an agreement where one firm (the marketer) compensates another firm (the affiliate) for generating transactions from its users. In practice, it involves a marketer placing links to its website on affiliated websites,” describe Simon Goldschmidt, Sven Junghagen and Uri Harris in Strategic Affiliate Marketing.

“Rather than pay for the links upfront, the marketer provides a commission to affiliates for every transaction that results from these links. If organized correctly, it can potentially benefit both parties, because it helps marketers acquire new customers and increase revenues, while affiliates can generate revenues from the visitors to their sites.”

Among today’s best affiliates are bloggers and social media personalities that have developed a large following. Through affiliate marketing entrepreneurs enter into an arrangement with an influential Internet personality or any person willing to represent the entrepreneur’s product. The affiliate, who should feel passionate about the product, promotes the product through links, banners, testimonials or other content about the product.

The entrepreneur benefits through the sale of products resulting from the efforts of the affiliate, the affiliate benefits from the revenue as well as the content that is created and share with followers and followers benefit through access to the content and the introduction to the product.

Entrepreneurs should ensure appropriate disclosures are made by affiliates that choose to promote the product through testimonials or other similar content. There is nothing wrong with affiliates that choose to promote a particular product. However, in such cases the affiliate should ensure that appropriate disclosures are made in compliance with applicable laws, rules or regulations. Lack of appropriate disclosure can damage the reputation of both the affiliate and the entrepreneur.

The following are four considerations that entrepreneurs should consider when establishing an affiliate program:

1. Online Store. Robbins states that affiliate marketing programs work best where an online store has been established. The store should have been up and running for a while to ensure that it is working properly and the kinks have been worked out. Robbins cautions that the quickest way for an entrepreneur to lose valuable affiliates is through technical glitches that cause lost sales and result in lost revenues for affiliates.

The beauty of well-developed affiliate programs is the ease of integration with the online store. While entrepreneurs can develop homegrown systems it may be worth exploring the options available through third party affiliate programs such as CJ Affiliate, Rakuten, Shareasale and Avantlink.

“You need to be able to put the technology in place so that you can reimburse and reward your affiliates as appropriate,” says Robbins.

2. Product Pricing. Affiliate marketing programs provide affiliates with a percentage of each sale generated through the affiliate’s activities. Driving traffic to an online store can involve tasks as simple as a hyperlink or banner on a Web site to comprehensive and well-thought out articles that address the features and benefits of the product.

Regardless of the effort, influential affiliates – those with large online followings on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. – have many products available for them to represent. As such, the commission per conversion is important. Robbins believes that products priced in the $60 – $100 range are optimal as they can generate significant volume with a reasonable commission. Lower dollar amounts provide nominal affiliate revenue and higher priced items do not sell as readily.

3. Product Worth Buying. Successful affiliates work hard to create influence within their space. If the product does not inspire a conversation the top affiliates will not touch the product.New logo w byline

Each affiliate has a niche. Entrepreneurs should target and make arrangements only with affiliates that operate within their industry. For example, an entrepreneur selling high-end culinary utensils and hardware should seek affiliates that are foodies, restaurant owners, industry consultants and others that operate in a related space. These affiliates may maintain blogs, Web sites, social media pages and social media accounts where they can share information and links about the product.

4. Great Affiliates Are Not Cheap. Entrepreneurs must be prepared to make significant revenue sharing agreements if they wish to engage with the top affiliates/influencers.

Years ago entrepreneurs were told in books, articles and workshops to seek out influential bloggers and others with strong followings and offer product or some other benefit in exchange for a mention or link. This worked for a while. But it doesn’t work any longer.

“So many people think that if we give these bloggers free product they will be completely happy,” says Robbins. “These are business people now. They know the value that they are bringing to the client. And they want to be compensated for it.”

 

 

 About Jesse TorresJesse_Torres

Jesse Torres has spent nearly 20 years in leadership and executive management posts, including executive management roles at financial institutions. In 2013 the Independent Community Bankers of America named him a top community banker influencer on social media. He is a frequent speaker at financial services and leadership conferences and has written several books. He hosts an NBC News Radio show called Money Talk with Jesse Torres.
Follow @jstorres or contact  Jesse@JesseTorres.com